back to article Laser probers sniff more gravitational waves from mega black hole smash

An international team of physicists has announced that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) has detected gravitational waves from a second pair of colliding black holes. The genius of Einstein At the start of the year, the scientific community was buzzing with excitement after rumours started …

  1. You aint sin me, roit
    Mushroom

    Aliens playing marbles...

    Except when the marbles collide they merge into a bigger one.

    Fortunately there aren't any military uses...

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Aliens playing marbles...

      Nah, Dave Lister playing planet pool again.

      Damn, not really in the mood for lame jokes about top notch boffinry right now, just read about Lester. Damn, he was one of the good ones. Time for a drink, I guess.

      1. Sebastian A

        Re: Aliens playing marbles...

        "I've been to a parallel universe, I've seen time running backwards, I've played pool with planets, and I've given birth to twins, but I never thought in my entire life I'd taste an edible pot noodle."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    Barking

    On Radio4 they were talking about laser detection of gravity but I think it needs 1kg hopping rabbits to be spread about the universe for calibration or something.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barking

      Trojan rabbits. Catervaulting over walls.

  3. danR2
    Holmes

    Dark matter

    The fact that such a 'rare' event has now (seemed to have) been detected twice strengthens the black-hole hypothesis behind dark matter: that ordinary matter constituting galaxies is heavily laced with myriads of primordial micro-singularities.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Dark matter

      Not at all. Because "micro-singularities" are micro and, same as with magnetic monopoles, none has ever been detected and the energetic burst of evaporating micro black holes are not being observed.

      The holes in this story are decidedly macro, leftovers from stellar burns.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: Dark matter

        Yes, but primordial black holes could be created during inflation. And for us to have overlooked them, they'd need masses in the range 20-100M. (For reference, the upper limit for stellar processes is around 30M.)

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Dark matter

        "the energetic burst of evaporating micro black holes are not being observed."

        Ah, but that's the Dark Energy which we can't detect :-)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sooo...

    Like a Mexican wave then, but for nerdy scientists and StarTrek fans?

  5. Terje

    Black hole mergers are not that uncommon, there are a lot of galaxies out there.

    If we do a back of the envelope calculation here. let's assume an average galaxy has one merger event every 10^9 years and that 250 million galaxies small and large lies within our detection range. then we would expect about one event every 4 years.

    1. John 104
      Coat

      @terje

      Not that uncommon? No. I've got one here in my back pocket.Oh, you said BLACK hole. Sorry.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Trollface

      ...and of course Murphy says that these two were but a fluke, and there will be no further events detected in the next hundred years...

  6. Geoff May

    Does this all explain why there is a velvet paisley-covered Chesterfield sofa in the field?

    1. muddysteve

      This is all about Eddie's in the space-time continuum.

      1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        Is he, then?

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The latest signal comes from the final moments when two black holes – one 14 times the mass of the Sun and the other eight times the size – merged to create a massive, spinning black hole 21 times the mass of the Sun.

    And from the article abstract: The inferred source-frame initial black hole masses are 14.2 +8.3 −3.7 M ⊙ and 7.5 +2.3 −2.3 M ⊙ , and the final black hole mass is 20.8 +6.1 −1.7 M ⊙ .

    So I'm curious... what happened to the "missing" mass?

    This obviously some serious boffinry being done.

    1. Chemist

      "So I'm curious... what happened to the "missing" mass?"

      Well all the energy involved in shaking the spacetime fabric of the entire universe probably took a bit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Well all the energy involved in shaking the spacetime fabric of the entire universe probably took a bit."

        The paradox of gravity is that it is such a weak force - much, much weaker than the other three - but there is just so much concentrated mass in the universe that, in the end, it dominates everything.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          It's only really a weak force when compared to its brethen. For us it still represents a considerable force :)

  8. Ken Strain

    The "missing mass" is what was radiated as gravitational waves - that's as much energy in 1s as the Sun will give out in 10 billion years - in fact it is many times more as only a tiny fraction of the Sun's mass will be radiated.

    1. Captain DaFt

      The equivalent of our sun's mass being totally converted to energy in an (for all practical purposes) instant.

      Hey Marvin, There's your "Earth shattering KABOOM!"

  9. Chris G Silver badge

    Detecting Gravitational Waves

    Don't let 'em get you down!

    I have been reading articles about science trying to detect Gravitational waves since I was a kid at shcool in the '60s and used to read New Scientist in the library. Now two sets have been found within a few months of each other, that's impressive because this stuff is hard, difficult science. Even more impressive is the thought that a solar mass can be converted totally into energy in a second, no wonder the ripples of that bang can still be felt 1.4 billion years later.

    Top Boffin Ken! keep up the good work.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: Detecting Gravitational Waves

      I dunno. You spend 50 years waiting for a gravitational wave and then two come along at once.

  10. Louis Savain

    Why LIGO Is a Scam

    LIGO is a scam and here is why. Gravity is an instantaneous or nonlocal phenomenon, otherwise orbits would be unstable and Newtonian gravity would not work. Laplace showed this way back in 1805. General relativists are aware of this problem and have proposed a strange and unfalsifiable hypothesis to explain it away. They posit that every massive body somehow broadcasts its velocity to other bodies at the speed of light. This way the receiving bodies can more or less extrapolate where the source body is even though the information is received at a later time (~8 minutes delay between earth and the sun).

    The problem is that a body's velocity cannot be determined by the body because GR denies the existence of absolute motion. But this introduces another problem because a body's velocity relative to other bodies cannot be known either unless there is instantaneous communication between it and the other bodies. This, too, is forbidden by GR.

    Of course, there is no way to falsify the GR hypothesis because the only way do the trick is to use a mediating particle, the so-called graviton, which has never been observed. But it gets worse. The graviton introduces an infinite self-referential regress into the works. The reason is that gravity affects everything, including the graviton itself. The whole thing is embarrassing, to say the least.

    More at: http://rebelscience.blogspot.com/2016/05/why-ligo-is-scam.html

    ahahaha...AHAHAHAHA...ahahahaha...

    1. NotesTracker

      Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

      You claim "They posit that every massive body somehow broadcasts its velocity to other bodies at the speed of light" but I'm not so sure they do posit such "instantaneous action at a distance". My understanding is that gravity results from an object (a mass) reacting to curvature of the [pre-existing] space-time field which does not require such magical "action at a distance" -- but I certainly stand to be corrected, and will readily yield to those who know more!

      1. Louis Savain

        Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

        "You claim "They posit that every massive body somehow broadcasts its velocity to other bodies at the speed of light" but I'm not so sure they do posit such "instantaneous action at a distance"."

        They implicitly assume instantaneous communication at a distance even though they explicitly deny it.

        Read Steven Carlip's "Aberration and the Speed of Gravity." Also read John Baez's "Does Gravity Travel at the Speed of Light?" Both argue that massive bodies broadcast their velocity out into space. This is how planets can extrapolate the actual position of the sun even though they receive the the signal minutes or hours later. The sun cannot possibly know about its velocity because absolute motion is forbidden by GR. It cannot know its velocity relative to the other planets because this requires instantaneous communication at a distance and this, too, is forbidden.

        Baez: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/GR/grav_speed.html

        Carlip: http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/9909087

        It's pathetic, really.

        1. Louis Savain

          Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

          Baez: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/GR/grav_speed.html

          Carlip: http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/9909087

          Correction: Both were written by Carlip. Baez's site is just hosting.

        2. Balvenie Doublewood

          Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

          Sorry Steve Carlip does not say this. Cranks rarely read and/or understand the papers they reference. This is what Carlip wrote in 1999:

          Finally, let us return to the question asked in Ref. [1]: what do experiments say about

          the speed of gravity? The answer, unfortunately, is that so far they say fairly little. In the

          absence of direct measurements of propagation speed, observations must be filtered through

          theory, and different theoretical assumptions lead to different deductions. In particular,

          while the observed absence of aberration is consistent with instantaneous propagation (with

          an extra interaction somehow added on to explain the gravitational radiation reaction), it is

          also consistent with the speed-of-light propagation predicted by general relativity.

          Within the framework of general relativity, though, observations do give an answer. The

          Einstein field equations contain a single parameter cg, which describes both the speed of

          gravitational waves and the “speed of gravity” occurring in the expression for aberration

          and in the velocity-dependent terms in the interaction. This parameter appears in the

          gravitational radiation reaction in the form c

          −5

          g

          , as in eqn. (3.3), and the success of the

          theory in explaining the orbital decay of binary pulsars implies that cg = c at the 1% level

          or better [22].

          I doubt Steve Carlip would be impressed with the misrepresentation here as he does spend time debunking bad science from creationists in Talk Origins. The observations from LIGO clearly show speed of light gravity is reality

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

      Clueless jerk detected!

      Amazingly, the Einstein Gravity calculations work out pretty well. Exceedingly well.

      And GR has nothing to do with the graviton, which is QFT, which is another can of worms. Go back to cave regardless.

      Or stop grunting and start here: Is Newton's Law of Gravity consistent with General Relativity?

      > rebelscience

      Nothing says more than "I'm a 14-year-old homeschooler with delusions of grandeur and asperger's" than "rebelscience".

      1. Louis Savain

        Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

        "Amazingly, the Einstein Gravity calculations work out pretty well. Exceedingly well."

        Of course they do. It's because Einstein is cheating. The word "relative" implicitly assumes instantaneous communication between two bodies at a distance even though the theory is a local theory that forbids instantaneous communication.

        To those who have read Steven Carlip's "Aberration and the Speed of Gravity" (the relativist's attempt at solving an unsolvable problem), the velocity terms used in GR assume that the sun's velocity relative to the other planets is broadcast out into space. This way the planets can somehow extrapolate where the sun actually is, as opposed to where it was. The sun cannot possibly "know" about its velocity relative to other bodies because this would violate the local nature of GR. This is not even wrong. It's embarrassing.

    3. Ben Bonsall

      Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

      It is falsifiable

      Teleport the sun hundreds of light years away. If the earth immediately continues in a straight line, then gravity is instantaneous action at a distance. If it continues in orbit until the last light reaches earth, then gravity is transmited at the speed of light.

      Not an easy experiment, I agree.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

        You can't "teleport the sun hundreds of light years away". Especially not in GR (ads opposed to in Star Trek for example). But we can observe black holes in rapid motion and check whether what we observe is what we can numerically obtain.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

          Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

          Didn't the article state that they managed to work out where the event took place because the detectors received the data 1.1ms apart?

          That would mean that gravity 'propagates' at the speed of light*.

          I don't think there is an experiment that can be made that would prove an instantaneous change in gravity at a distance anyway, how could you make the masses involved appear/disappear fast enough to be classed as instant?

          *I'm assuming the maths(^H) works out here :)

          1. Louis Savain

            Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

            "Didn't the article state that they managed to work out where the event took place because the detectors received the data 1.1ms apart?"

            A handful of LIGO project's administrators can also inject fake signals into the system. The fake signals are indistinguishable from expected signals, so much so that they can fool the physicists working on the project. In fact, it happened once and papers were written ready for publication.

            1. Louis Savain

              Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

              I know I'm striking a sensitive nerve for every thumb down that I get. The truth hurts, doesn't it? There is way too much at stake. This is one of the reasons that the whole thing is a scam.

              ahahahaha...AHAHAHAHA...ahahahahaha...

              1. Chemist

                Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

                "I know I'm striking a sensitive nerve for every thumb down that I get. The truth hurts, doesn't it? There is way too much at stake. This is one of the reasons that the whole thing is a scam."

                Given such advanced views I'm amazed that you are wasting your time on such an audience as The Register. Clearly you should be submitting serious papers to learned and influential journals. It worked for Einstein despite him being a total outsider who had to argue against the perceived wisdom of his day.

                /Sarkasmus und Verachtung

                1. Louis Savain

                  Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

                  "Given such advanced views I'm amazed that you are wasting your time on such an audience as The Register. Clearly you should be submitting serious papers to learned and influential journals."

                  You must be kidding me. You don't understand the politics of mainstream science, IMO. It's Big Brother all the way down.

                  "It worked for Einstein despite him being a total outsider who had to argue against the perceived wisdom of his day."

                  You got it all backwards. Politics is precisely the reason that Einstein's physics dominates even though it contradicts simple logic and the other pillar of modern physics: quantum mechanics. It's now a full blown religion.

                  My message is not to the pompous and arrogant scientific elite. My message to the average man and woman in the street.

                  "/Sarkasmus und Verachtung"

                  Same to you.

                  1. Chemist

                    Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

                    "You don't understand the politics of mainstream science, IMO. It's Big Brother all the way down."

                    I don't think you understand much. I've spent 41 years doing 'big science' as you put it. Not Physics but, for example a co-worker and I developed a route to manufacture the world's first $1B /year drug and that was ~ 1975 I also understand. peer review and publishing of papers. You do not !

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

                    "It's now a full blown religion.

                    My message is not to the pompous and arrogant scientific elite. My message to the average man and woman in the street."

                    Your message sounds a lot like a religion

                    1. Louis Savain

                      Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

                      Wow. I've inadvertently stumbled into a company of mental midgets and arse kissers. Never mind me. I'm leaving. See y'all around, as they say in the US.

                      ahahaha...AHAHAHA...ahahaha...

    4. John F***ing Stepp

      Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

      No, going back over the relevent equation and subsituting a negative mass you do not get infinate velocity as a result.

      In fact, at very high levels (infinate energy) you come up with the speed of light, as observed.

      (or as close as makes no never mind)

      Actually I should point out to you that simply parroting what some non traditional fringe sceince has to say without thinking hard . . . is a bit ironic.

      1. Louis Savain

        Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

        "No, going back over the relevent equation and subsituting a negative mass you do not get infinate velocity as a result."

        This addresses my argument how? Substituting your gray matter for fecal matter would make no difference that I can see.

    5. Vic

      Re: Why LIGO Is a Scam

      Twat.

      Vic.

  11. Alistair Silver badge
    Pint

    LIGO lasers spot wibble wobble across the universe.

    (background music from 80s)

    Nice that we're adding to the knowledge pool. Hopefully they refine the maths some more.

    I suppose the "next generation" of this creature will require nodes at L3 and L5 to gain more accurate/greater angular information. -- At least I'd suppose that they'd get a more intriguing set of data to work with.

    RebelScience. - Oddly I think we need to leave that lot off in a corner spouting gibberish. They tend to help prove the point that real science is hard and takes work, and, oh; logic. That skill that people seem to keep forgetting drove our knowledge from "Lightning means the Gods are Angry" to "One small step for man...."

    And I'll agree, Lester would have loved this one. /salut

  12. Pau1mi11er

    Gravity and Galaxies

    I think we can safely say that we wouldn't want to me be near one of these events when they go off. I wonder where the nearest ones are? We're not talking huge black holes here are we? They could be lurking anywhere!

    What always strikes me about the speed of gravity is how symmetrical galaxies tend to be (well, the symmetrical ones anyway!) in photographs. Given that the light will have had to travel an additional n x 100,000 years to get from one side to the other and the galaxy at this side will have rotated round a fair bit in the mean time, you would have thought that the image we are seeing would be distorted a bit. And, given that the gravity from the far side stars and stuff will also be lagging behind where the stars "really" are then the whole structure would be getting distorted.

    Any thoughts?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Gravity and Galaxies

      Why else do you think all those + and X shaped galaxies look like spirals in the photos?

  13. rvt

    "The force of attraction between the objects is gravity. It causes ripples in spacetime and the energy takes the form of gravitational waves." The force of attraction by itself doesn cause riples just like that the earth vs sun attraction causes any rimples.

    It's the merging and thus moving that causes the riples. Everything that moves through space causes ripples, although only massive objects can be detected.

  14. crimelovingfunster

    Feel the force

    How close would you need to be to detect a pair of colliding black holes with our relatively meagre senses?

  15. IT Poser

    Does it have to be specifically black holes?

    Based on my, admittedly limited, understanding gravitational waves are based on the mass. Is there some reason the waves we have detected couldn't just be normal stars merging?

    1. Terje

      Re: Does it have to be specifically black holes?

      From my understanding that is decidedly on the let's skip all those nastylooking equations king, I believe that two ordinary stars merging will be a way to "slow" process with not enough energy involved. you could possible detect a nearby merging of neutron stars, but I guess they would have to be very "close",

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